The United States Department of Defence deployed a formation of at least 14 bombers and fighters over the Korean Peninsula on Sunday, in a massive show of force to North Korea. The formation also included South Korean and Japanese aircraft, according to The Washington Post reports.
The security drill by the nations came two days after North Korea launched a "highly proactive" ballistic missile over Hokkaido in northern Japan on Friday, which landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) to the east, the Japanese government said. It travelled about 3,700 km (2,300 miles) in total, according to South Korea's military, far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam, which the North had threatened before.
The US Defence officials said that the Pentagon dispatched two Air Force B-1B bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and four Marine Corps F-35B fighters from Iwakuni, Japan, combined with four South Korean F-15K fighters and four F-2 Japanese fighters.
The jets carried out a simulated attack using live bombs on the Pilsung training range in South Korea, a few dozen miles from the demilitarized zone separating the North and South. The US and Japanese aircraft reportedly flew in formation over waters near Kyushu, Japan, a southern portion of the country that is the closest major island to the Korean Peninsula.
The show of force by the United States came at a time when the US President Donald Trump is redying to deliver his remarks for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The North Korean impasse has reached a critical level, where the United States representative to the UN Nikki Haley has said that if America exhausts its diplomatic options, it will not deter from using military force against Pyongyang.
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North Korea has continued to test nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, despite several sanctions imposed on the country by the United Nations. Pyongyang, in its effort to become a nuclear-powered country, has cornered itself to isolation, as most nations across the world are against the North's nuclear aspirations.
North Korea building its first nuclear submarine?
North Korea may be building its first nuclear-powered submarine and they hope to make it operational by 2020, Sputnick News reports quoting Japanese media outlets. The reports came from an anoymous but "informed" source, the website stated.
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Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo claimed that an "informed" source who was familiar with the "North Korea situation" had told them that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) -- the official name of North Korea -- has been building a nuclear submarine secretly.
If the claims are true, then the North Korean navy has taken a massive leap forward from its current fleet of 50 to 60 diesel-electric submarines.
The source reportedly also told the Japanese paper that Russian and Chinese engineers were assisting the DPRK with their expertise to manufacture such submarines.
After North's latest missile launch, the US has suggested that its patience for diplomacy with Pyongyang is running out. With North Korea's growing nuclear programme, unbridled missile tests, and the Unites States' threats of military action, a highly plausible prospect of a nuclear war looms over the world.